Two weeks ago, my youngest daughter kissed and said goodnight to her fiancee. The next morning, when he did not show up for breakfast, she went to wake him up. When she entered the bedroom he was laying in his usual position. But as soon as she got close to him, things didn’t seem just right. And when she tried to wake him up, she knew something terrible was wrong.

She called 911 and the ET’s came to see what was wrong. In her heart, she didn’t want to believe what her mind was suggesting. She asked a friend who was a policeman to call someone because she was so stressed. So he called her next oldest sister, and her heart fragmented when she heard him say, “he’s gone.”

It was like the sky suddenly collapsed, shattering her whole world. They had known each other for over 15 years. We’re deeply in love. She wore a beautiful engagement ring on her finger. But now the one who put it there was gone! I had the privilege of talking with her on the phone and sharing what I had learned from my training as a grief counselor.

When she called the other day, my second oldest daughter, who is with her asked if I could fly there for the memorial service and interment. But my age, health, and other problems would not allow me to go. So she then asked if I could write something to be read at the memorial service. I agreed, and here is what I shared with her.


Grief is one of the most painful things a human being can be asked to endure. It is trying to cope with the sudden loss of someone or something you dearly love. Even more agonizing, is when the loss is unexpected and for which there seems to be no explanation.

Grief is made so very real when you turn to talk to someone or reach out to hug someone or expect to see someone, and they are not there anymore. They’re gone! Michelle, I can only imagine how you must feel. This is a personal thing, something that only you can explain because this one is unique to you.

But God is also aware of how His children feel when dealing with grief. The Psalmist David tells us that the Lord is always very near to those whose hearts have been broken, He’s always nearby to those whose spirits are crushed.1 But the Psalmist also said that when his body and heart grew weak because of sorrow, God was right there to give him strength in his heart, and that was all he needed.2 In fact, the Psalmist said that God loves to mend a wounded heart and sooth its pain.3

But I also want to be your Psalmist today. So I’ve written the following just for you on this occasion.


It is a frightful thing

to love what death can touch and hold.

A frightful thing to love, to hope, to dream,

but then to lose what means the most.

Oh, the thought of losing,

must be a thing only for those who cannot dream

but then again to lose can be a holy thing.

A holy thing to love what death can touch,

someone that lived in your heart,

someone that lifted you with laughter

someone you took as God’s gift to you.

To remember them can also be a painful thing.

But it’s a human thing to love,

it’s also a holy thing to love,

it is a blessed thing to love what death can touch,

but cannot hold forever.

By Dad for his Michelle on Steve’s farewell

Inspired by the poetry of Yehuda HaLevi.

1 Psalm 34:18

Psalm 73:26

Psalm 147:3

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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